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Monday, May 16, 2011
Day 5: Bordellos!
Day 5, May 15
Usually by Day 5 it should've happened, at least once. But so far booing, another Cannes tradition, hasn't entertained the international press corp so hungry for scandal. There was a feeble attempt this evening after the screening of the dreamy bordello tale, "L'Apollonide" (House of Tolerance), but the Bertrand Bonello's film has enough integrity and auteur bravado, and the initial boo wasn't picked up by the full house in Salle Debussy. This is, of course, a companion piece to Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty" from Day 1 -- two brothel studies that trace the longtitudes of the female body, one done by a woman, the other by a man. While Leigh's film is chilly and almost scientific, Bonello's early 20th century whorehouse is an upholstered boudoir of fantasies and hourglass of history, at once real and abstract, grounded and drifting, and in all it's a curious experiment with a rather stunning ending (I wouldn't say, err, climax). My guess is that the French press will dig it more than anybody else.
As we continue to wait for the vicious boos, the loudest applause at press screening took place today at the ending of "The Artist". No wonder. Michel Hazanavicius's black-and-white silent film is designed as a button-pressing crowd-pleaser, a nostalgic bonbon that begins as a good-humoured imitation of 1920s movies before succumbing to the cliches it originally set out to glorify. You'd smile at it throughout (or at least the first 15 minutes), but it won't stick with you. At first, "The Artist" was programmed as an Out of Competition title, but was promoted at the last minute to Competition, possibly to increase the number of French films in the top-tier category.
The next six days will see a parade of brand-name autuers, beginning tomorrow with Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life". The press screening at 8:30am (isn't that inhuman?) is expected to be packed -- this Brad Pitt-starring movie is probably the most anticipated among the 20 Competition title, and I've been warned by lunatic friends from the Western Hemisphere to get there as early as 8!. I can't believe it's still six more days to go. I'm really missing my bed, my fridge, my niece, my cat, and 40-baht pad krapao now...
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